Despite a fresh appeal from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take forward the India-US civil nuclear deal, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Thursday asserted that there would not be any change in its opposition to the contentious agreement.
"Manmohan Singh has reiterated the known position of the prime minister and his government and we reiterate our own position," CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechury told reporters in New Delhi.
"We believe that the 123 agreement (with Washington) is not in the interest of our country," Yechury said.
The CPI-M-led Left parties, which prop up Manmohan Singh's coalition government, have been opposing the nuclear agreement saying that it would damage the country's indigenous nuclear programme.
Although the Communists have allowed the government to go ahead with negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on an India-specific safeguard agreement, they have refused to let it finalise the pact.
On Wednesday, Manmohan Singh made a strong pitch for the deal.
Talking to Indian Foreign Service probationers here, he said the agreement would end "nuclear apartheid" India has faced since its first nuclear test in 1974 and "open up new possibilities of cooperation with other nuclear powers like Russia and France",
The Communists rejected that too.
Asked if the Left would change its stance and allow the government to finalise the IAEA negotiations if the government decided to forego the 123 agreement, Yechury said: "Let the government come out with such a proposal. Our problem is not with the safeguard agreement."